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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

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IS6                              MFE  OF
Geography gained new sources of information. The
knowledge of the direction,, the construction and the
geological peculiarities of the great Asiatic mountain
ridges, acquired an extraordinary degree of profundity
and accuracy., by Humboldt's method of the constant
comparison of all scientific elements \ and the regu-
lar taking into account similar and opposite experi-
mental results in Asia, America, and Europe, created
a climatology, which was founded on the most im-
portant revelations of all the natural sciences. Only
the adept in the science of nature can entirely per-
ceive and comprehend HumboldtJs greatness; the
uninitiated can only admire the mysterious extent of
his labours, and Mahlmann, the German translator of
fc Central Asia/' who had given a sketch of Humboldt's
labours several years before in the Illustrirte Zeit'imgt
concludes his preface to the German edition of the
work, with the following enthusiastic words :
" If Alexander von HumboMt be the chief foxmdor
and representative of that condition, to which research
has developed itself in our century, striving after
universality in everything ; and, if for that reason
alone, each of his works is a great inheritance for
future generations, we are more than ever impressed
with admiration in his investigations on the forma-
tion of the earth, how the most profound study of
countless sources of knowledge were united in Hum-
boldt, with the most comprehensive acquirements in
all branches of human knowledge. We see with
increased interest, with what talent Hximboldt reco-
gnises the mutual interconnexion of all branches of
natural sciences, and the eternal influence of pature,
on the life and destinies of nations, and with what
unusual simplicity he can represent it. With in-
creasing delight we watch him in the art which few
possess, of collecting, regulating, and sifting a chaos
of facts, and then of combining* them to universal
ideas and reflections in which all individual facts meet
as the rays in a focus. Then we perceive with as-
tonishment, how, by the union of these rays, the